Recently, I have been invited to a press dinner at Mint, an Indian restaurant from Chef Gary Sikka, located Midtown East.
So, before you read this post, remember that it was a press dinner, meaning that the restaurant knew I was a blogger.
I was really excited to go there as I love Indian food! I started to discover it while traveling to...Hong Kong. But, later, I was lucky to be able to go few times in India, in Mumbai and then later across Rajasthan. I know that a lot of people cannot stand the spices, but not me: it is so tasty and there are so many different dishes to discover with a wide range of flavors.
The restaurant is definitely modern with a nice decor from the bar to the dining room. It has a private room that can accommodate approximately 10 people.
|Courtesy of Mint|
The dining room is very colorful with its drum lamps and Indian paintings, that definitely confirm this place proposes fine dining and is not just casual food.
|Courtesy of Mint|
The service was very nice and we got taken care of by the "Wine Director" as they called him! He proposed to either choose some dishes from the menu or to let the restaurant pick for us. We chose the latter. I looked at the menu anyway and noticed that they offer a large selection of regional Indian food, with lots of options if you are vegetarian. In fact, if you are, Indian restaurants are great spots to get delicious and flavorful vegetarian dishes!
Lassi is a yogurt based drink, made by mixing yogurt with water and Indian spices. It is a great drink to counteract the fire of spicy food! I was a bit disappointed because the sweet lassi tasted like buttermilk with sugar.
We started of with the Chilly Fish:
The fish (tilapia) was smothered in a thick sauce full of spices and bell peppers. They told us it was spicy but in fact there was just a nice kick. The fish was a bit crunchy and it kind of reminded me of a General Tso fish, in a way, without the sweetness. The Chilly fish was a fantastic dish and one of my favorites of the dinner!
Then, we got the Chicken Malai Kebab:
It was pieces of chicken marinated in herbs and spices and served with a mint sauce. There was also a nice kick to the dish! The chicken was perfectly cooked and moist. Definitely a great appetizer.
The next appetizer was Aloo Methi Tikki:
These are spicy potato (Aloo) and fenugreek cakes seasoned with herbs and spices. In fact it was not the cakes that were spicy, but the onions! I liked it as it was tasty, not heavy and not greasy.
Then came the entrees. First was the Chicken Tikka Masala (cubes of tandoori chicken cooked in a fenugreek tomato sauce).
It had a wonderful color and I just wanted to dive in it! This sauce was so good and creamy! I could have eaten the whole plate of it! Not spicy at all also! This is my test dish whenever I go to an Indian restaurant!
The second entree was Lamb Pasanda (lamb cooked in a cashew sauce):
I did not really like this specialty from Kashmir: the lamb was tough and the sauce was lacking flavors.
Then there was the Saag Paneer (homemade cheese with sauteed spinach):
I have never been a big fan of that dish and the only time I liked it was at India on the Hudson in Hoboken. This one did not change my mind...However, I liked the homemade cheese...
What I surely appreciated was the garlic naan bread!
It was freshly made, fluffy with a bit of butter and did not have too much garlic. Simple but delicious!
Of course, to finish, we had to try traditional Indian desserts. It is interesting to think that a lot of people ignore Indian dessert because they do not think they have some or do not know what they are. For sure, you need to like eating sweet! But there are several desserts that I love eating! On the top is the Gulab Jamun, deep fried milk dough that is immersed in a sugar syrup.
It was sweet, but not too much. It had a perfect consistency, not too firm, but not mushy, and was served warm. I inhaled it!
The second dessert is Ras Malai.
It means literally Juicy Cream. It is a sweet dessert made of cheese balls (to simplify the explanation...) simmered in milk and cream. I loved it too! Not too sweet and the cheese balls had a nice texture.
If I were to go back, my meal would be: Chilly fish, Chicken Tikka Masala, Gulab Jamun and garlic Naan. The question is: would I go back? I enjoyed most of the dishes, but expected more as the description of the restaurant was Indian dishes with a modern flair. I wish for instance that there were twists to traditional dishes that are Chicken Tikka Masala or Saag Paneer (a deconstructed version?). So, yes, I would go back, especially to try their weekday $12 buffet, as well as other dishes they are proposing that seem to be delicious (pricier though). And if you are vegetarian, you will surely enjoy the wide selection of vegetarian dishes.
Enjoy (I did)!
And remember: I just Want To Eat!